The dance with the disorder
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Hello, and welcome to the last in our series on personality disorders. In our last post, we journeyed along the river of transformation, discussing whether individuals with personality disorders can change and therapy's significant role in facilitating that change. Mixing metaphors, this is also akin to learning new dance steps, transforming a stumbling shuffle into a graceful waltz. But what if you're dancing with someone who has two left feet?
When we find ourselves in the dance of interaction with someone with a personality disorder, how do we lead, follow, or maintain our rhythm without getting drawn into their drama?
Firstly, it's important to remember that you can't control the dance steps of another. But you can influence your own. This means practicing compassion, not just for them, but for yourself too. Understanding that their reality differs profoundly from yours can help you adjust to their rhythms and avoid being drawn into a vortex of judgmental recrimination that can ruin your day.
Secondly, you must create and maintain healthy boundaries with someone with a personality disorder. Again, extending the dance metaphor is like defining the space in which you are comfortable moving. Just as you wouldn't let a dance partner lead you into a dangerous or uncomfortable position, you must guard against allowing someone else's disorder to dictate your emotional state.
Lastly, seek professional guidance if necessary. Sometimes, the relationship dance becomes too challenging or overwhelming. In such cases, having a seasoned dance instructor in the form of a therapist or counselor is an invaluable resource.
Remember, dancing with someone with a personality disorder is complicated. But you can learn the steps that make understanding, patience, and resilience easier. So what steps will you take to dance more skillfully with the difficult people in your life? How will you decide to get in shape for the dance of interpersonal relationships? Will you commit to practicing the steps of understanding, empathy, and boundary-setting so that when the music starts, you're ready to move with grace and resilience?
If someone with a personality disorder is stepping on your toes, remember you could choose to equip yourself with the knowledge and practices offered in my Project Skillfully Aware course. It's an invaluable resource for understanding and managing relationships, including with individuals with personality disorders.
Wishing you abundant health, happiness, and prosperity,